Monday, June 29, 2009

Stonewall miscellany

This past weekend marked the 40th anniversary of start of the Stonewall riots, which erupted in the wee hours of 28 June 1969 and ultimately became a key symbol of the LGBT civil rights movement.

The mass media has been covering the anniversary quite extensively. In doing so, it has highlighted the existence of relevant historical records and -- created some records of its own. Among the highlights:
  • As I noted a few days ago, eminent historian Jonathan Ned Katz has created an online exhibit featuring New York City Police Department records concerning the riots. The exhibit includes an interview with Raymond Castro, one of the individuals whose arrest is documented in the records. Over the weekend, published a feature article highlighting Castro's memories of gay life in New York in the 1960s, his views on the LGBT civil rights movement, and the quiet, pleasant life he now leads in suburban Florida.
  • Bay Windows features the recollections of David Bermudez, who was at the Stonewall Inn when the police raided the bar.
  • The New York Daily News interviews Tommy Lanigan-Schmidt, Ellen Shumsky, and Jerry Hoose, all of whom participated in the protests that followed the raid.
  • WNYC-FM's The Brian Lehrer Show interviews Danny Garvin and Tommy Lanigan-Schmidt, who took part in the Stonewall riots, historian David Carter, and Seymour Pine, the New York City Police Department official who authorized the raid. Pine still defends the raid, stating that it took place not because the bar was a gathering place for gay people but because it was controlled by the Mafia, served drinks in dirty glasses, and allowed patrons to violate prevailing standards of dress.
In addition, a couple of articles highlight the work of archivists seeking to document the history of the LGBT community:
  • David Williams, the community-based LGBT archivist who collected the materials that now comprise the Williams-Nichols Collection at the University of Louisville, discusses LGBT activism in Kentucky and the roots of his archival work.
Kudos to both!

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